Tuesday August 15, 2017
Due in large part to a rapidly shifting business landscape, as well as the increasing complexity of various professional roles and responsibilities, business professionals across a wide range of industries have sought outside assistance from life coaches and have thus experienced the benefits of the guidance offered by these impressive experts.
When working with clients, the most effective coaches tend to rely on many of the same elements utilized by consultants and therapists to help the individuals they work with to recognize an ideal path for the future, while also fostering performance gains in a professional setting.
With the industry’s extensive track record of success, business professionals of all backgrounds and experience levels are increasingly looking for the ideal life coach to assist them in accomplishing a set of specific professional goals. As the industry continues to grow, more and more life coaches have decided to sharpen their focus by adopting highly specialized areas of professional expertise.
If you're a life coach who's considering increasing your skill and value by specializing in a specific industry, or you're a professional who's thinking about working with a life coach, you're probably asking some important questions that need answers. In the paragraphs that follow, I'll address those questions and offer insight, with the goal of helping current and future life coaches and the business professionals who stand to benefit from their guidance.
Can Life Coaches Help ANY Business Professional?
At some point or another, just about everyone has heard someone use the phrase “jack of all trades” to compliment someone’s diverse skill set. Although it is typically offered and received as a compliment, the full expression is not intended to be flattering: “Jack of all trades; master of none.”
The expression highlights one of the conundrums facing both life coaches and the business professionals seeking their exceptional guidance: Is a coach capable of helping professionals in every industry equally, or is it best to work with a life coach who specializes in your specific field?
The answer is quite simple: An excellent life coach is more than capable of helping any business professional to deal with a great number of issues or challenges. With that being said, there are indeed many benefits available to the business professionals who choose to work with a specialist, as well as to the life coaches who choose a relatively narrow area of professional specialization.
The Benefits of Specialization
Life coaches tend to come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and the overwhelming majority complete training and certification programs focusing on specific aspects of the life coaching profession. When a life coach selects an area of specialization that allows them to apply the lessons learned from their own unique academic and professional experiences, they can understand their clients' unique needs and challenges better, offer more insightful and effective guidance, and require less time to learn about the situation than they would if they were a stranger to that client's industry.
Life coaches who focus on a specific area of specialization also tend to enjoy a more lucrative and fulfilling career. If people have to choose between a general practitioner who knows a little about their situation, and a specialist who knows their industry's challenges and opportunities intimately, they'll choose the one who has the higher level of expertise. This deeper knowledge also enables specialized coaches to market themselves more effectively, since they can describe the exact reasons their clients need them.
The clients of specialized coaches also tend to enjoy a more lucrative and fulfilling career, because the highly knowledgeable coach can give them better guidance for succeeding in their specific industry.
Selecting an Area of Specialization: Let Previous Experiences and Training Be Your Guide
If you are a current or aspiring life coach who is considering the possibility of adopting a specific area of specialization, it’s important to understand the value of allowing your previous experiences and training to guide your decision.
While it might appear that a certain specialization is more likely to be in demand or is potentially more lucrative, it’s rarely a good idea to make decisions based solely on the financial rewards of a professional endeavor. After all, any experienced life coach would be sure to remind a client that critical career choices should always involve thoughtful consideration of a multitude of factors, including their levels of passion and interest, and their personal and professional fulfillment.
So when you're considering which area of specialization to choose, ask yourself: "What industry do I understand the best? Who do I enjoy working with the most? What kind of difference do I want to make in the world, and which area of specialization will help me to accomplish that?"
About the author:
Gina Kawalek is currently a Senior Marketing Manager at QASymphony, a leading provider of QA testing software for agile developers. Prior to QASymphony, she spent 5 years in B2B marketing at ExactTarget, Salesforce and Insightpool.